What is victimisation?

Victimisation is a specific term used in discrimination law to describe action by an employer, against an employee, in retaliation for involvement in bringing, or supporting, a complaint of discrimination.

Examples include refusal to promote an employee because he or she has previously invoked a grievance procedure, or given evidence against the employer at a tribunal.

Victimisation can also take place after employment has finished – for example, where an employer refuses to follow its normal post-employment procedure and fails to give a reference to a former employee because he or she had brought a tribunal claim for discrimination against it.

The deadline for bringing an employment tribunal claim for victimisation is very short – just three months from the date of the act complained of.

The first step before bringing any tribunal claim is to submit an Acas Early Conciliation Form. This step is compulsory. You will not be able to bring your tribunal claim without it.

For information about bringing a tribunal claim, including information about Acas early conciliation, tribunal fees (and getting help with fees) and bringing your claim, see our Enforcing your Rights section.

Note that if you are being victimised for trade union-related reasons, because you have engaged in whistleblowing, or for acting as a workplace or health and safety rep, you may be entitled to interim relief in any tribunal claim you make.

Speak to your rep urgently if you think you may qualify for interim relief. An interim relief application must be made to the tribunal within seven days of the act complained of. Acas early conciliation does not apply to applications for interim relief.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.